Friday, June 10, 2005

Why NVFS is not a neccessity

Jeff Kirvin, our well-known podcaster over at 1src recently stated the following in his number 27 podcast(abbreviated):
NVFS is the greatest innovaton, as it allows users to let their bateries run empty without loosing their data. An original Palm handheld lost its data as its battery ran out...

This is true at the first look, but I feel that it is wrong! I currently have a IIIc loaned to a friend of mine. She is one of the people Jeff describes in his podcast, as she uses her devices until she literally runs out of power and the device switches off! I sometimes used all the energy off my IIIc, m505, etc and never had any problems either.
This has a simple reason:backup energy. A Palm OS handheld shuts off if there still is enough power in the battery to keep the RAM supplied for up to five/seven(a week) days. My Tungsten T3 refuses to power on if the battery is empty, and so did the other machines. While NVFS may help if the battery management was like on PocketPC(no battery=RAM dead), it is not really neccecary for a Palm OS handheld. Everyone uses his handheld at least once every week-and would note an empty battery pretty fast because his handheld won't power up anymore! He would walk up to the machine and plug it in, and it will start if there is enough energy in the battery to keep the RAM suppied once again for 7 days...
What do you think?


Blogger Alexander Gratz said...

I really don't need and don't want NVFS. Not only because of the good accu (T|C). My biggest fear is that it won't lose data, even not if there is a corrupted software and a hard-reset won't work...

10:18 PM  
Blogger Mitchell Rusk said...

I like NVFS. not losing data is good. Also the ram uses battery power even when the unit is off. So this causes shortend battery life. plus if you don't use a palm pda for 5 years and if it has NVFS you can turn it on and run it like it was 5 years ago.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Ben Combee said...

Two things:

1) Look at the settlement about the m100, m105, and m125 devices. Those had removable batteries, and because of a bad component, people were often losing data. We've got phones now with removable batteries, so NVFS avoids using the potentially problematic solution again -- it doesn't matter how long your battery is out, your data will remain.

2) NVFS allows a device to work longer, since we don't have to keep as much battery power as a margin before the device goes into shutdown mode. You can run a 650 almost to 0%, where an older device would go into forced sleep around 30% of your battery remaining.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Tom Frauenhofer said...

Now that I have a Treo 650 and experienced NVFS first hand I have to say I like it. I was one of those who was quite paranoid about data loss (had it happen several times on my old Pilot 1000 and my IIIxe until I got smart about hotsyncing and watching the battery power).

Don't confuse the concept of NVFS with the current implementation (via the data manager API's) which is the real cause of most of the problems. Also don't confuse it with the release problems that palmOne had with the T5/650/LifeDrive.

(Come to think of it, I haven't heard of E2 owners complaining about it, and they have NVFS. Hmmm...)

1:46 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Tam, you're missing the point. If you get back to a charger before that emergency reserve runs out, great. But a lot of people don't. I've seen dozens of "dead" PDAs that really just needed a charge and restore. People are used to cell phones not losing data when run dead, and expect PDAs to be the same. You're old school. You know how to keep the device charged and it's already a habit. That's not the case for PalmOne's new customers.

12:38 AM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

now this is an interesting discussion! Let me try to say a bit to everyone here...
To Alexander: I already experienced such a thing once-and only once after overclocking my T3 in an extreme fashion. Hardreset was dead as well...
To Mitchell:who does this. BTW; the battery would anyways be almost dead then!
To Ben 2)That is great!
To Tom )I feel that the main problem we have with NVFS is the buggyness of the API. Developers should have been actively involved into the development and should have been given time to optimize apps BEFORE device release, not afterwards!
Best regards
Tam Hanna

11:14 AM  
Anonymous daver said...

Hi Tam,

Just came by to catch up on some reading...
Both you and Jeff Kirvin have made great points. But I'll have to lean more towards Jeff's side:
Many people nowadays are taking small tip-toe steps into the technological world. To the majority of them, PDAs seem to be the best electronic to start off with. Being beginners, they don't realize that you must constantly change the battery. NVFS rids them of worrying about data loss in that sense. But at the same time, it saves a wee bit of battery life while your device is not in use.
IMO, the best type of storage is a hybrid of NVFS and flash: it's non-volitile, but completely and easily erasable in case of software corruption or situations requiring completely data erasure.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tam - you are right and the big dummy is wrong.

12:50 AM  
Blogger intellidryad said...

NVFS would be great if there aren't the bugs that we hear and read about. (I've never tried one with NVFS, so I'm not that sure about the bugs)

However, if you have a Palm Vx with battery life that can stand a month (that's what I heard), I don't think it's that easy to forget to charge and run out of juice. My cell phone has a one month battery life and it NEVER died on me unless I did it on purpose.

I think the best solution is that of the clie UX. which has a dedicated flash memory for auto backup. It has the benefits of both NVFS and non-NVFS models. As for us non-NVFS users, a backup on a memory card is still a must.

7:20 PM  
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